black chicken eggs

10 Amazing Mysteries Behind the Dark and Exotic Black Chicken Eggs

If you’re a fan of unique food products, you may have heard of the black chicken egg. Unlike your average chicken egg, the black chicken egg has a dark, almost black shell that can be quite intriguing to anyone who’s never seen one before.

But what makes these eggs black, and are they safe to eat? In this blog post, we’ll explore the mystery behind the black chicken egg and uncover the secrets of this exotic food item.

black chicken eggs

We’ll delve into the genetics behind its unique appearance, its nutritional value, and even its flavor. So, get ready to learn all about the rare and fascinating world of the black chicken egg!

What is a Black Chicken Egg?

The black chicken egg comes from a rare and exotic breed of chicken called the Ayam Cemani. This breed originated in Indonesia, and its striking appearance has made it highly prized by chicken enthusiasts around the world.

Ayam Cemanis are known for their black feathers, black skin, and black meat, but their most unique feature is the black coloration of their eggs.

To understand what makes the black chicken egg so special, we need to take a closer look at the Ayam Cemani chicken breed.

These chickens have a genetic condition called fibromelanosis, which causes their skin, feathers, and internal organs to contain high levels of black pigment.

This condition also affects the color of their eggs, resulting in a dark shell that ranges from a deep chocolate brown to a shiny jet black.

The Ayam Cemani breed is still relatively rare outside of Indonesia, and black chicken eggs can be difficult to find. However, their unique appearance and cultural significance have made them a sought-after delicacy for many food enthusiasts.

Why are Black Chicken Eggs Black?

black chicken egg

The black coloration of the Ayam Cemani chicken and its eggs is due to a genetic mutation called fibromelanosis. This mutation causes an excess of melanin production in the bird’s connective tissue, skin, feathers, and internal organs.

The melanin produced by this mutation is eumelanin, which is responsible for producing dark brown or black pigments.

Unlike other chicken breeds, which have a white or brown shell color, the eggs of Ayam Cemanis are black or very dark brown. This is because the melanin produced by fibromelanosis is also deposited in the eggshell during its formation.

The coloration of the eggshell is determined by the concentration of the melanin pigment, with a higher concentration resulting in a darker color.

The black coloration of the Ayam Cemani chicken and its eggs has also given rise to cultural significance in some parts of the world.

In Indonesian culture, the black color is associated with mystical and spiritual qualities, and the Ayam Cemani is sometimes called the “Lamborghini of poultry” because of its striking appearance.

While the black chicken egg is certainly unique, its safety and nutritional value are also important factors to consider.

Are Black Chicken Eggs Safe to Eat?

Black chicken eggs are generally considered safe to eat, just like any other type of chicken egg. They are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and are a great addition to a healthy diet.

However, it’s important to note that the safety of any egg depends on how it is handled and cooked. When purchasing black chicken eggs, it’s important to buy them from a reputable source to ensure that they are fresh and have been properly stored.

Additionally, just like with any type of egg, it’s important to cook black chicken eggs thoroughly to avoid the risk of salmonella contamination.

It’s also worth noting that the nutritional value of black chicken eggs is similar to that of regular chicken eggs.

While the black coloration of the shell may make them seem exotic or unusual, the actual nutritional content of the egg is largely the same as that of a standard chicken egg.

What Do Black Chicken Eggs Taste Like?

While the appearance of black chicken eggs may be unusual, their taste is actually quite similar to that of regular chicken eggs.

The yolks of black chicken eggs tend to be slightly richer and creamier than those of standard eggs, but the difference is subtle. The flavor of black chicken eggs is also similar to that of regular chicken eggs, with a mild and slightly savory taste.

One of the benefits of using black chicken eggs in cooking is their striking appearance. The dark color of the eggshell can add a unique and dramatic touch to any dish.

In fact, some chefs even use black chicken eggs in their signature dishes to create a memorable visual experience for diners.

It’s also worth noting that black chicken eggs are generally smaller than regular chicken eggs, which can make them a bit more challenging to cook with.

However, this size difference can also make them a great choice for dishes that require smaller portions, such as appetizers or tapas.

10 Chicken Breeds That Lay Black Chicken Eggs

black chicken eggs

If you’re interested in adding some unique and striking black chicken eggs to your flock, here are ten chicken breeds that are known for laying them:

1. Ayam Cemani

Ayam Cemani is a unique breed of chicken that is well-known for its striking black appearance, including its feathers, skin, and internal organs.

What makes Ayam Cemani chickens truly remarkable is that they lay black eggs. Yes, you read that right – black eggs!

The eggs laid by Ayam Cemani chickens are a dark, almost iridescent black color, which makes them stand out from other chicken eggs.

Interestingly, the color of their eggs comes from a pigment called oocyanin, which is also responsible for the dark coloration of their internal organs.

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Aside from their unique eggs, Ayam Cemani chickens are also popular for their exotic appearance and friendly personalities.

They are a relatively small breed of chicken, with roosters typically weighing around 5 lbs and hens weighing around 4 lbs. Despite their small size, they are excellent layers and can lay up to 80-120 eggs per year.

While Ayam Cemani chickens may be a bit more expensive to acquire than other chicken breeds, their unique appearance and black eggs make them a worthwhile investment for those who are looking for something truly special.

If you’re interested in raising Ayam Cemani chickens, be sure to do your research and provide them with the proper care and nutrition they need to thrive.

2. Black Copper Marans

Originating from France, the Black Copper Marans breed is known for its dark brown eggs, which can sometimes have a black speckling.

The Black Copper Marans is a French breed of chicken that is well-known for its stunning black and copper feathers. However, what sets this breed apart from others is that they also lay eggs with a unique black color.

Black Copper Marans eggs are not completely black, but they have a deep chocolate brown color with dark speckling.

Black Copper Marans chickens are medium-sized and are known for their excellent laying ability. They are also a hardy breed, making them suitable for different climates and environments.

Their eggs are highly valued by chefs and food enthusiasts for their rich flavor and unique color.

The black color of the eggs is caused by the pigment called protoporphyrin. This pigment is found in the blood and tissues of chickens and is deposited on the eggshell during the egg formation process.

The more protoporphyrin a chicken has, the darker the eggshell color will be.

If you’re interested in raising Black Copper Marans chickens, it’s important to note that their eggs are highly sought after and can command a higher price.

These chickens require proper care and nutrition to lay high-quality eggs. Providing them with a balanced diet and a comfortable living environment will help them thrive and produce delicious, black eggs.

3. Black Jersey Giant

The Black Jersey Giant is one of the largest chicken breeds and lays brown to dark brown eggs, which can sometimes appear almost black.

Black Jersey Giant chickens are one of the largest chicken breeds in the world, with roosters weighing up to 13 lbs and hens weighing up to 10 lbs. They are not only known for their size, but also for their ability to lay eggs with a unique black color.

Black Jersey Giant chickens were originally bred in New Jersey in the late 19th century, and were created by crossing several large breeds, including the Black Langshan, Black Java, and Dark Brahmas.

The result is a large, hardy breed with striking black feathers and dark eyes.

Their black eggs are a result of a genetic mutation that affects the genes responsible for eggshell coloration.

This mutation causes the chickens to produce eggs with a dark brown or black shell, which is caused by the deposition of pigment called protoporphyrin on the eggshell.

Black Jersey Giant chickens are great for backyard flocks because of their size and docile temperament. They are also known to be good layers, producing around 150-200 eggs per year.

While their black eggs may not be as popular in the culinary world as those of other breeds, they are still a unique and interesting addition to any flock.

In terms of care and nutrition, Black Jersey Giants are low-maintenance birds. They require plenty of space and a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.

Providing them with a clean, dry living environment is also crucial to their health and wellbeing.

Overall, Black Jersey Giant chickens are a great choice for those who want a hardy, low-maintenance breed that produces unique black eggs. Their size and docile temperament also make them great pets for families and backyard enthusiasts alike.

4. Black Australorp

This Australian breed lays large brown eggs, but they can sometimes appear almost black.

Black Australorp chickens are a popular breed among chicken enthusiasts due to their dual-purpose nature. They are great layers and also make good meat birds. What sets them apart from other breeds is their ability to lay eggs with a unique black color.

Black Australorps were first developed in Australia in the early 1900s, and were bred from several different breeds, including Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, and Minorcas.

They are known for their glossy black feathers and bright red combs and wattles.

Their black eggs are a result of a genetic mutation that affects the genes responsible for eggshell coloration. The mutation causes the deposition of a pigment called protoporphyrin on the eggshell, resulting in the dark color.

In addition to their unique egg color, Black Australorps are great layers, producing around 250-300 eggs per year. They are also docile and friendly birds, making them a good choice for backyard flocks.

When it comes to care and nutrition, Black Australorps are relatively low-maintenance birds. They require a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.

They also need plenty of space to move around and a clean, dry living environment.

Overall, Black Australorp chickens are a great choice for those who want a dual-purpose breed that produces unique black eggs.

Their hardy nature, docile temperament, and excellent laying ability make them a popular choice for backyard enthusiasts and small-scale farmers alike.

5. Swedish Black Hen

Also known as the Skånsk Svart Höna, the Swedish Black Hen lays dark brown to black eggs.

The Swedish Black hen is a unique breed of chicken that originates from Sweden. As its name suggests, this breed is characterized by its striking black plumage and is known for laying eggs with a distinctive black color.

The Swedish Black hen is a medium-sized breed that weighs around 4-5 lbs when fully grown. They are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in cold climates, which makes them a popular choice for backyard flocks in areas with harsh winters.

Their black eggs are a result of a genetic mutation that affects the genes responsible for eggshell coloration. This mutation causes the deposition of a pigment called protoporphyrin on the eggshell, resulting in the unique black color.

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In terms of egg production, Swedish Black hens are moderate layers, producing around 150-200 eggs per year. They are also known for their friendly and docile temperament, which makes them a good choice for families and backyard enthusiasts.

When it comes to care and nutrition, Swedish Black hens require a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.

They also need plenty of space to move around and a clean, dry living environment to ensure their health and wellbeing.

Overall, the Swedish Black hen is a unique and interesting addition to any backyard flock.

Their hardiness, moderate egg production, and friendly temperament make them a popular choice among chicken enthusiasts, while their distinctive black eggs add a touch of novelty to any egg basket.

6. Barnevelder

Barnevelder chickens are a Dutch breed that are known for their dark brown or black feathers and their ability to lay eggs with a unique dark brown color.

However, some strains of Barnevelders have been known to lay eggs that are almost black in color, making them a popular choice among chicken enthusiasts who are looking for something a little different.

Barnevelders are a dual-purpose breed, meaning they are suitable for both meat and egg production. They are also known for their calm and friendly personalities, which make them a popular choice for backyard flocks.

Their dark eggs are a result of a genetic mutation that affects the genes responsible for eggshell coloration. This mutation causes the deposition of a pigment called protoporphyrin on the eggshell, resulting in the unique color.

In terms of egg production, Barnevelders are moderate to good layers, producing around 180-200 eggs per year.

They require a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources, and need plenty of space to move around and a clean, dry living environment to stay healthy.

Overall, Barnevelder chickens are a great choice for those who want a dual-purpose breed that produces unique dark brown or black eggs.

Their friendly temperament, hardiness, and moderate egg production make them a popular choice for backyard enthusiasts and small-scale farmers alike.

7. Croad Langshan

Originally from China, the Croad Langshan lays large, dark brown to black eggs.

Croad Langshan chickens are a breed that originated in China and are known for their striking black plumage and their ability to lay eggs with a unique dark brown or black color.

They are a large, heavy breed that is often raised for both meat and egg production.

Their dark eggs are a result of a genetic mutation that affects the genes responsible for eggshell coloration. This mutation causes the deposition of a pigment called protoporphyrin on the eggshell, resulting in the unique color.

In terms of egg production, Croad Langshan chickens are moderate to good layers, producing around 150-200 eggs per year.

They require a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources, and need plenty of space to move around and a clean, dry living environment to stay healthy.

Croad Langshan chickens are known for their calm and friendly personalities, which make them a popular choice for backyard flocks. They are also hardy and can tolerate cold weather, making them a great choice for those living in cooler climates.

Overall, Croad Langshan chickens are a great choice for those who want a breed that produces unique dark brown or black eggs while also providing meat production.

8. Minorca

Also known as the Black Spanish, the Minorca lays large white eggs, but some hens can lay black eggs as well.

Minorca chickens are a breed that originated on the Spanish island of Minorca and are known for their glossy black plumage and their ability to lay eggs with a unique dark brown or black color.

They are a medium to large breed that is often raised for both meat and egg production.

Their dark eggs are a result of a genetic mutation that affects the genes responsible for eggshell coloration. This mutation causes the deposition of a pigment called protoporphyrin on the eggshell, resulting in the unique color.

In terms of egg production, Minorca chickens are excellent layers, producing around 200-280 eggs per year.

They require a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources, and need plenty of space to move around and a clean, dry living environment to stay healthy.

Minorca chickens are known for their active and independent personalities, which make them a popular choice for those who enjoy watching their chickens forage and explore.

They are also hardy and can tolerate warm weather, making them a great choice for those living in hotter climates.

Overall, Minorca chickens are a great choice for those who want a breed that produces unique dark brown or black eggs while also providing excellent egg production.

9. Penedesenca

The Penedesenca is a Spanish breed that is known for its dark brown to almost black eggs.

Penedesenca chickens are a breed that originated in Catalonia, Spain, and are known for their beautiful black plumage and their ability to lay eggs with a unique dark brown or black color.

They are a medium-sized breed that is often raised for their egg production.

Their dark eggs are a result of a genetic mutation that affects the genes responsible for eggshell coloration. This mutation causes the deposition of a pigment called protoporphyrin on the eggshell, resulting in the unique color.

In terms of egg production, Penedesenca chickens are good layers, producing around 150-200 eggs per year.

They require a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources, and need plenty of space to move around and a clean, dry living environment to stay healthy.

Penedesenca chickens are known for their active and curious personalities, which make them a popular choice for backyard flocks.

They are also hardy and can tolerate a variety of climates, making them a great choice for those living in different regions.

Overall, Penedesenca chickens are a great choice for those who want a breed that produces unique dark brown or black eggs while also providing moderate egg production.

Their active personality, hardiness, and striking appearance make them a popular choice for backyard enthusiasts and small-scale farmers alike.

10. Kadaknath

This Indian breed is known for its black feathers, meat, and eggs. Their eggs are said to have a unique flavor.

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Kadaknath chickens, also known as Kali Masi, are an indigenous breed of chicken from India that is renowned for their glossy black plumage and their ability to lay eggs with a unique dark brown or black color.

They are a medium-sized breed that is often raised for both meat and egg production.

Their dark eggs are a result of a genetic mutation that affects the genes responsible for eggshell coloration. This mutation causes the deposition of a pigment called protoporphyrin on the eggshell, resulting in the unique color.

In terms of egg production, Kadaknath chickens are moderate layers, producing around 80-120 eggs per year.

They require a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources, and need plenty of space to move around and a clean, dry living environment to stay healthy.

Kadaknath chickens are known for their hardiness and their ability to adapt to a range of climates. They are also highly prized for their meat, which is considered to be both nutritious and delicious.

Overall, Kadaknath chickens are a great choice for those who want a breed that produces unique dark brown or black eggs while also providing good meat production.

Their hardiness, adaptability, and striking appearance make them a popular choice for farmers and backyard enthusiasts alike.

 

While these breeds are known for producing eggs with darker coloration, it’s worth noting that not all chickens within these breeds will lay black eggs.

Egg color can vary based on factors such as age, diet, and genetics. However, if you’re interested in adding some unique and striking eggs to your flock, these breeds are a great place to start.

black chicken eggs

Where Can You Find Black Chicken Eggs?

Black chicken eggs may seem like a rarity, but they are becoming more widely available as the popularity of Ayam Cemani chickens continues to grow. Here are a few places where you can find black chicken eggs:

Local Farms and Hatcheries

The most common place to find black chicken eggs is at local farms and hatcheries that specialize in rare or exotic breeds of chickens.

If you have a local farmers’ market, you may be able to find black chicken eggs there as well. It’s worth doing some research to find a reputable source near you.

Online Retailers

There are also several online retailers that specialize in rare and exotic chicken breeds, including Ayam Cemani chickens.

These retailers often offer black chicken eggs for sale, as well as chicks and adult birds. When ordering online, be sure to read reviews and check the retailer’s policies on shipping and returns.

Specialty Food Stores

Some specialty food stores and gourmet markets may also carry black chicken eggs, particularly those that focus on unique and exotic foods.

If you’re having trouble finding black chicken eggs in your area, it’s worth checking with local specialty food stores to see if they carry them.

Local Chicken Enthusiast Groups

If you’re interested in raising Ayam Cemani chickens yourself, joining a local chicken enthusiast group can be a great way to connect with other breeders and find sources for black chicken eggs.

These groups often have members who are willing to sell eggs or chicks to fellow enthusiasts.

It’s worth noting that black chicken eggs can be more expensive than regular chicken eggs due to the rarity of the Ayam Cemani breed.

However, many people find that the unique appearance and taste of black chicken eggs are well worth the extra cost.

If you’re interested in trying black chicken eggs, be sure to do your research and find a reputable source to ensure that you’re getting high-quality eggs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the black chicken egg is a unique and fascinating food item that has captured the attention of food enthusiasts around the world.

Its striking appearance and cultural significance have made it a sought-after delicacy, but its safety and nutritional value are just as important to consider.

Despite their exotic appearance, black chicken eggs are safe to eat and have a taste and nutritional content that is similar to that of regular chicken eggs.

While their small size can make them a bit more challenging to cook with, their striking appearance can add a dramatic touch to any dish.

If you have the opportunity to try black chicken eggs, it’s definitely worth giving them a try. Not only are they a conversation starter, but they’re also a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.

 

References:

  1.  Arora, G.; Mishra, S. K.; Nautiyal, B.; Pratap, S. O.; Gupta, A.; Beura, C. K.; Singh, D. P. (2011). “Genetics of hyperpigmentation associated with the Fibromelanosis gene (Fm) and analysis of growth and meat quality traits in crosses of native Indian Kadaknath chickens and non-indigenous breeds”. British Poultry Science52 (6): 675
  2. Dorshorst, Ben; Molin, Anna-Maja; Rubin, Carl-Johan; Johansson, Anna M.; Strömstedt, Lina; Pham, Manh-Hung; Chen, Chih-Feng; Hallböök, Finn; Ashwell, Chris; Andersson, Leif (December 2011). “A Complex Genomic Rearrangement Involving the Endothelin 3 Locus Causes Dermal Hyperpigmentation in the Chicken”PLOS Genetics7 (12): e1002412. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002412PMC 3245302PMID 22216010.
  3. Shinomiya, Ai; Kayashima, Yasunari; Kinoshita, Keiji; Mizutani, Makoto; Namikawa, Takao; Matsuda, Yoichi; Akiyama, Toyoko (February 2012). “Gene Duplication of endothelin 3 Is Closely Correlated with the Hyperpigmentation of the Internal Organs (Fibromelanosis) in Silky Chickens”Genetics190 (2): 627–638. doi:10.1534/genetics.111.136705PMC 3276631PMID 22135351.
  4. Lukasiewicz, Monika (23 August 2014). “Meat quality and the histological structure of breast and leg muscles in Ayam Cemani chickens, Ayam Cemani × Sussex hybrids and slow‐growing Hubbard JA 957 chickens”. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture95 (8): 1730–1735. doi:10.1002/jsfa.6883PMID 25155871 – via SCI.
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